The Theosophical Forum – August 1936


QUESTION 316. According to Theosophical doctrines, man is a septenary being, in addition to his physical body having six other principles as a part of his constitution, (a) Is it true then, that in addition to his present physical body manifesting on this our material earth, he would also simultaneously be manifesting on six other material globes or planets in an appropriate physical body or vehicle, all seven physical vehicles on the seven material globes each having its own six other principles functioning in their respective spheres, contributing each and all to the Monadic center? (b) If this is so, would all seven physical vehicles die and reincarnate again at the same time, or each at a different time, depending upon the karmic energies of each vehicle?H. W. D.

G. de P. — The foregoing question does not lack profound interest; and by the changing of two words — which words because they are esoteric cannot here be stated — the question would deal with a typically esoteric matter, connected with man's septenary constitution. However, and answering with as much brevity as possible in view of the complex factors involved, and having in mind the intuitive thought behind the question, I would reply briefly to the questioner's query (a): No, if by the word "material" is meant "physical" bodies on other physical planets — Globes D of their respective chains — of our Solar System.

The fact is that man in his septenary constitution has one "material" or rather "physical" body only; and as he is now manifesting on our own Planetary Chain, and on Globe D thereof in the Fourth Round, this his physical body is the physical body that we all know — yours, mine, any other man's or woman's physical body on this Earth.

Yet there is an intuition in this question which is struggling to find utterance, or rather to find phrasing in which it may clothe itself; and I believe that future study will prove to this querent the accuracy of this observation of mine.

Now, the querent's intuition points directly to the fact of man's composite nature, which is divisible after different manners; for instance, our usual exoteric manner which H. P. B. gave to us, and there is none better for its own purposes; then there is another manner which has been more favored by the Vedanta and the Taraka-Raja-Yoga, to which H. P. B. likewise approvingly alludes in her The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, page 157, and which refers more particularly to the different monads forming man's composite constitution. When we remember that these different monads are, each one of them, a growing and evolving entity, each one at some date in the distant future to be an individual of septenary character, we see not only the intuition in the querent's question, but also the profound truth of the famous old statement found in all mystical literature that man is a microcosm or small copy of the Macrocosm or Great Original; and, on exactly similar lines of analogy, every one of the monads in man is an as yet imperfectly evolved microcosm of the complete man as we recognise him.

With regard to the latter question, the querent's (b), it is seen from the foregoing part of my answer that there is not more than one physical body at any one time for man, and that this physical body is now found on our Globe D, Earth; and hence, the answer to this question (b) again is No. Yet just here I must enter a caveat, and point out that the same intuition before noticed is here again struggling to express itself, and it does seem to me as if this questioner had an inkling of a certain esoteric and very difficult teaching concerning the Outer Rounds. Be this as it may, my answer stands correct, that man's septenary constitution at any one time works through one physical body only, and that in the present phase of human evolution this physical body is the one in which we, as individuals, are incarnated on this Earth.

QUESTION 318. How can we study the science of metaphysics?

M. Ginevra Munson — A modern positivist defines metaphysics as "the science of all sciences." Therefore it includes all science — and more: religion and philosophy. First we must realize that mind is infinite, exists everywhere and in all things, a veritable ocean of consciousness infilling the universe, outer and inner — the worlds of the gods.

In order to know the truths of metaphysics or the worlds and conditions above physics, we have to evolve the faculties pertaining thereto, the faculties that can gain experience therein. This is done by aspiration — by a yearning for truth, and an expanding consciousness. It requires the consciousness of individual minds to gain experience in the metaphysical realms, the same as it does to gain knowledge of the laws and operations of the physical with the help of our senses and intellect. By probing into the metaphysical, we evolve our higher senses and intuition, which is the metaphysical Ego within.

The Ego-sense is the thread on which all thoughts and knowledge are strung. Even in the study of physics our modern scientists are forced to the conclusion that mind and consciousness are the fundamentals of all manifestation, and exist throughout all. They have discovered that Space is an ocean of consciously acting atoms — Theosophy says life-atoms — and that primal substance consists of life-atoms, the ever-living nuclei "evolved from that black, impenetrable fortress which is forever concealed from human or even Dhyanic sight. The nuclei are the light of eternity escaping therefrom." (The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, p. 33.) All manifestation begins with the whirling evolution of these life-atoms, each with its own characteristic, or svabhava, down through their own self-built elements or planes of substance and variety of forms through which to gain experience and expanding consciousness, to individual self-consciousness in man; then on to individual godhood, and further on to ever greater heights in Divinity, as evolutionary law tells us must be true.

Of the many aspects of the metaphysical and esoteric teaching of Theosophy there is none more inspiring than that man is an integral part of the Universal Spirit and that there is no limit to his development as an individual soul. Here is where all Christian religions have failed in leading man to his highest: by affirming that human beings are the children of a personal God, who saves them from "hell" by faith and prayer.

The Ancient Teaching asserts that man is a manifestation of Divinity, an evolving part of the One, his own Inner God. As one writer says, "It is a gospel of self-reliance and aspiration for which there is no parallel in the philosophical thought or spiritual realization in the world." To study metaphysics is to study the inner and greater part of one's own being as well as the whole of all other beings manifesting as laws, forces, and matter, physical and metaphysical, in studying which our modern physicists are becoming metaphysicists.

QUESTION 317. Does Theosophy teach astrology?

H. T. Edge — Theosophists know there is such a science as astrology, but they do not advocate or engage in its study, for the following reasons. Astrology is a most profound subject, and to study it properly would demand the devotion of a lifetime and the engrossment of all our energies. Thus its pursuit would divert Theosophists from their proper work, which is that of preparing the way for better human conditions by spreading the noble truths of Theosophy. Astrology is fascinating for some people, but can hardly be called profitable. It is one of many such pursuits, which demand more time and attention than can be spared. Again, what is today known as astrology is but a tattered remnant of the science as it has been and could be. It is mainly concerned with the motions of the visible planets in the Zodiac, and with their indications or influence on human and worldly affairs.

It is evident from experience that a certain amount of information about a person's character and probable experiences can be ascertained from his natal horoscope; but it is important to bear in mind that the aspects merely show tendencies. In this respect they resemble the indications of phrenology. A man goes to a phrenologist, who examines the shape of his head, tells him what his tendencies are, and advises him to cultivate some faculties and restrain others. Some years later the man visits the phrenologist again, and the shape of his head is found to have changed; for he has taken the advice. This proves that we have a power of resisting or enhancing or modifying the qualities indicated by phrenology, and that we are not bound by them. It is the same with the horoscope. It shows the tendencies, gives a map showing the forces operating and the probable drift, supposing these forces are not modified. But all these may be overridden by the superior power of the native's own intelligence and will; and thus he can be said to create his own horoscope, to rule his stars.

The question may be asked, whether it is of any service for anyone to know his own horoscope and study it, or whether he might not get along just as well, or even better, without such knowledge. One's experience suggests that the knowledge is of no practical benefit, and is apt to induce the habit of studying one's symptoms and of relying on external influences rather than on our own resources.

So our answer may be summed up by saying that the study of astrology is not recommended for a Theosophist, as it distracts his attention from his work and focuses it upon what is at best unprofitable and may be morbid in its tendency." Astrology is one of a number of such pursuits, including card-reading, crystal-gazing, numerology, and the like; all of which tend to lead the student into bypaths and to conduct him to divergent tracks rather than to any goal.

B. de Z. — The answer to this question depends entirely upon what the questioner means by astrology. If it is the widely spread present-day attempts at fortune-telling on the basis of very questionable methods and still more questionable interpretation of the results arrived at, then it might be said that Theosophy emphatically does not teach anything of the kind, nor does it even endorse it or recognise it as worthy of the ancient time-honored term astrology. But if by that name is meant that highly intellectual science which was an integral part of the ancient Mystery-Schools, and of which science there is still in our present world many a fragment extant, then it might be said that Theosophy, the Ancient Wisdom, does teach it, and for the simple reason that the basic spiritual foundations of this ancient science of astrology are identic with the spiritual teachings of. Theosophy. But this spiritual-intellectual science is anything but fortune-telling. Instead of concentrating one's attention upon the color of the dress which you have to wear on Thursday if you are a Sagittarian, or upon the exact latitude where you should live if you happen to be born in February, and a few other such trivial things, including perhaps the best stock that you should buy in 1936 if you would become a wealthy man next year — instead of this, the genuine astrology of the ancients had a far wider scope for its investigations and looked behind the phenomenal universe into the realm of spiritual causes which manifest as transitory effects in the world of men. It dealt not only with the influences of planets and of the sun and moon and the stars upon the mundane things of human life, but dealt further, and more particularly, with the nature of the celestial bodies, being, as they are, entities with a life of their own.

There is a genuine spiritual astrology, a science based on a knowledge which is at the same time strictly scientific, profoundly philosophic, and genuinely religious, and this knowledge is grounded upon Nature's own sublime operations — facts of universal being, which in ancient times constituted the "science of the stars" — - an important part of the very fabric of the Mystery-Schools and their teachings. This spiritual astrology represents the scientific and philosophic background of thought against which were projected, as it were, and from which sprang, the various branches of accepted astrological art, such as genethliacal, mundane, horary, etc., etc., astrology.

Mathematical calculations are a good thing when they are correct; but mathematics without a sound philosophical foundation is futile because the "how" operations will never satisfy the inquirer who is asking for the "why" of things.

Present day astrological art is ninety per cent, without a soul, and the philosophical background with spiritual intuitions flashing against it as it were, can be found these days only in one or two, or possibly three, genuine astrological schools of thought, and they are not likely to be among the names which will probably first arise in the mind of the reader.

There is a purpose even in a superficial study of the more outward, mathematical side of astrology, and it is this: it shows the manner in which the cyclical habits of Nature express or manifest or mold themselves in the relations and correlations of numbers, and it is not too far-fetched to assert that a correctly cast and a mathematically correct astrological figure when interpreted according to two sets of standards (a) the age-old rules of practical astrology and (b) the Theosophical or esoteric system of thought — will show a great many points of great interest regarding the character of the individual or group of individuals concerned; and from this can often be derived valuable hints regarding the future development of new and inherent tendencies. But it should always be kept in mind that the Science of Astrology is only one aspect or presentation of the all-embracing esoteric philosophy of life.

The Theosophical Forum